Sunday, September 20, 2015

working class

I had two glorious days in my classroom where the temperature raised above "Meat Cooler" and into "Temperate." Presuming some clever custodian had found the magical switch or lever or button that defrosted Room 212, I showed up on the third day last week dressed in normal clothes--khakis, shirt, scarf, sandals. I left with chilblains (a word I recently looked up since Kristen Hannah used it approximately 750 times in The Nightingale to describe the misery of living in Nazi-Occupied France.*).  Guess those two days were a mysterious fluke of the building's ancient heating-cooling system.

On a related note, my book club really liked The Nightingale and enjoyed our discussion of it. Over-reliance on chilblains aside.

Our first night at Awana went incredibly well. Not a single kiddo in our Cubbies room cried, which almost never happens with toddlers doing the first time of anything. They were sweet and listened and generally so cute and pleasant to work with. Last year was a pretty rough run for me as a room leader, so I had been praying about whether or not I should continue with the program. Discipline and classroom management issues are usually on the teacher's shoulders and I felt like the whole year was a fruitless struggle. Was I aging out of being productive? Too old and ineffective to work with this age group? Was God prodding me to focus my efforts elsewhere? When you walk away so drained from serving, something's not right.  Anyway, message received from upstairs, so I'm staying put for now and feeling good about it.

And speaking of kiddos, the students in Room 212 are pretty swell, too. Curious and polite and funny. Even the ornery ones aren't awful, in fact a couple of the ornery ones make me laugh every day. It should be a fun year in there. They turn in their first papers tomorrow, let the grading season begin!

Mr. T continues to run like a BOSS. He's won two medals as a JV runner. It's all very exciting and shocking to us at the same time.  He also rearranged his schedule to take Metals I. When I asked what one learns in Metals I, my son shrugged. No clue. Well, my grandpa was a welder, so perhaps he inherited some natural aptitude or interest. It would be cool if he did.
My Grandpa, Syl Panske. A shout-out to my cousin Mitch for sharing this photo find.

Mr. G and his buddies were playing football on the sidelines of the varsity game Friday night. It cracked me up when "Watch Me Whip" came on and all the little boys stopped in their tracks to sing and dance along.  I was so dog-tired after school Friday, I had zero desire to stand around in the rain to watch football. But we had a truckload of boys fervently desiring this entertainment, so I bucked up and we all went. I got to kick up my feet by the fire pit with a beer yesterday afternoon, my kind of end-of-the-work-week relaxation.

Today's job list includes laundry, homework help, cleaning floors and replacing the toaster that I accidentally set on fire last week while preparing a bagel to pack in my lunchbox.

Spill it, reader. What are you working on these days?

*Any association between conditions of Happyland High and the The Nightingale is unintentional and purely coincidental.

© 2015 Melissa Westemeier All Rights Reserved


  1. Work, cooking classes, pickle subscription, canning classes, attempting to stay on top house things (almost succeeding) and absolutely letting go of the garden. That's what I'm up to. Pretty much scheduled every minute of every day, but upon realizing I had two free hours yesterday morning, I managed to get some gardening done. We will have fall greens after all!

  2. The first papers of the year are coming due soon - and despite the fact that mine are middle school, not high school, I still foresee a year with long periods of grading ahead. Meanwhile, I'm canning (salsa! Tomato sauce!) and relaxing with Packers football and eating the opponent. Starbucks Pike Place Blend today, if you must know, for Eating the Opponent - Seattle.

  3. I take it you are teaching children from both ends of the childhood age spectrum. There's a challenge! I could think of a few ways in which a toddler class or a high school might be like Nazi-occupied France. But let's not think about that.

    What I'm working on these days is: winter wheat acreage forecasts, putting my new camera together :-) , trying to hear what direction our church should go next, and getting through the slew of Jewish holidays. And chaperoning for the marching band.

  4. I'm trying to deal with NOT being able to work on my classes. I don't like it. I'm keeping the hummingbirds fed, and trying to stake up the asters.

  5. Working in freezing conditions is awful! For the entire part of my life in which I lived in Buffalo, I was troubled by chillblains. They're horrible. One of the only good things about living in Virginia is that I don't get chillblains anymore.

  6. You *do* have a BOSS runner! Congrats to him.

    And hang in there through the fatigue and joy and challenges and exhaustion and need for new toasters. The work you do in the world, on all fronts, is powerful.

  7. A rainy football game sounds like torture to me regardless! Yikes on the toaster.

  8. I would love to trade for some meat cooler temps right now.

  9. I'm afraid to say what I'm working on. It's vacations. Packing a year's worth into about four weeks. Gonna be a long haul to the next one after this year's round.

    I didn't like The Nightingale very well. Guess I enjoyed All the Light You Cannot See so much I unfairly kept comparing.

  10. I've always wondered what chilblains were but never looked into the topic until just now. So thank you for getting me to figure out something I've wondered about for more than 30 years.

    Here, I'm working on work, my Spanish class, and getting my high school junior to get her head into the college process. Oy.

  11. Confession: I previously thought chilblains were something to eat... sort of like plantains. Obviously, I should have looked into a dictionary before now! Thank you for saving me from my ignorance -- and glad that they finally turned off that a/c this week!
    Besides work here, I'm still in farmers' market season, so when I'm not making photo note cards, I'm creating new earrings. Next up: some weekend travel and baby quilts!
    Congratulations on having a fast runner!

  12. PS: When my 2 oldest were in AWANA, the preschooler was a real stinker: he decided he did not want to do many of the activities and his chant was "Nooooo Cubby-Bear!" *sigh*


Spill it, reader.